When I first started sharing essays on The Shapes We Make, it felt really empowering to be personal—to reveal the beautiful and the ugly. Telling my truth made me feel strong. And there was something addictive about the positive response that I received from friends and far field acquaintances alike. I loved hearing that an experience of mine resonated with someone.
I've always understood myself better by writing. But I no longer want to share everything that I'm writing. I want to be truthful. I want to be vulnerable. And I want to maintain firm boundaries. I'm glad that I pushed my boundaries—otherwise, I wouldn't have known where I stood. Because I am certain now that some things, like my sex life, I want to share only with friends.
This morning, I went through and deleted a bunch of essays that were too personal (you're welcome, anyone I've ever dated). There's still a lot up on SWM that reflects the whole of who I am; the messy stuff, the pretty stuff, the weird stuff. But I feel much more at peace accepting that I have perimeters that right now, I'm not interested in crossing.
Adrienne Rich had it right when she spoke of the power of one women's truth to open doorways for others. Alice Walker was spot-on when she extolled the love expanding capacity of sharing our stories. Telling our truth, however, doesn't have to mean turning everything into copy. We can keep somethings to ourselves if that's what nourishes us. We always have the power to guide our narratives.